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Nike EYBL Atlanta: Top Matchups

By D1 Circuit Staff, 04/25/19, 8:45PM EDT

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The Nike Elite Youth Basketball League tips off tomorrow evening and the circuit’s first session is set to kick off with a number of high-level matchups.

Three regionals rivalry matchups will go down in the opening time slot at 6:15 eastern; Texas Titans vs Drive Nation (TX), Renaissance (NY) vs PSA Cardinals (NY) and Brad Beal Elite (MO) vs MOKAN Elite (KS).

The action continues with the Battle For Chicago at 8:00 pm eastern as MeanStreets (IL) squares off with the Mac Irvin Fire (IL). Check out the rest of the weekend’s top matchups below, and check back to D1Circuit.com for scores, stats, standings, and highlights.

Friday 4/26

6:30 PM EST

Drive Nation (TX) vs. No. 5 Texas Titans (TX)

The Battle For Dallas kicks off the session as the Texas Titans re-enter the EYBL with an in-state rivalry matchup against Drive Nation. 10 combined ranked recruits will be in action, including three top 10 recruits; RJ Hampton, Greg Brown, and Cade Cunningham. This will undoubtedly be a heated contest, and Hampton will need to be fully locked in if Drive wants to pick up a win. 

No. 10 Renaissance (NY) vs. PSA Cardinals (NY)

At the same time slot, the PSA Cardinals and the Renaissance will square off in an always-entertaining New York tilt. The Cardinals will be playing their first game without Cole Anthony in three years, and they have a ton of talent set to pick up the slack. The Renaissance features three primary returners from last year’s squad, and they’ll need sophomore Jonathan Kuminga to be productive if they want to avenge last season’s blowout loss. This matchup features a combined 12 ranked recruits and should be a highly entertaining battle in front of college coaches

Brad Beal Elite (MO) vs. No. 9 MOKAN Elite (KS)

The third rivalry matchup of the opening time slot is MOKAN Elite (KS) vs Brad Beal Elite (MO). There is no love lost between the regional rivals and both will be entering the circuit with Peach Jam Championship aspirations. BBE lost 4-star Donovan Williams for the season due to a torn ACL last week, but they still have plenty of talent at the top of their rotation to compete with MOKAN. N’Faly Dante and Davion Bradford will be a handful for an undersized BBE squad who will be relying on the star power of Moses Moody, Caleb Love, and Cam’Ron Fletcher. Expect fireworks in this one, and don’t be surprised if it comes down to the final buzzer.

8:15 PM EST

Mac Irvin Fire (IL) vs. MeanStreets (IL)
GAME OF THE SESSION

The circuit has never kicked off with the Battle For Chicago, but we are all for it. The Windy City’s longtime EYBL clubs always put on an entertaining showcase, and while the two programs have a friendly relationship, this is undoubtedly the highest profile regular season game of their respective seasons. Adam Miller and Michael Foster will lead a super athletic bunch against an underrated MeanStreets squad led bu DJ Steward and Isaiah Rivera. The winner of this matchup will be riding a ton of momentum for the rest of the session, so expect both teams to play hard as hell.

Pro Skills (TX) vs. Houston Hoops (TX)

The second battle of Texas foes goes down in the second time slot, and the matchup should be very telling for both team's long-term outlook. Head coaches Jeff Webster (Skills) and Tim Schumacher (Hoops) are two of the best in the business and they will definitely have their teams ready to roll. The matchup between Pro Skills' Micah Peavy (247 No. 84) and Hoops' LJ Cryer (247 No. 76) should be worth the price of admission.  Whoever wins should ride some nice momentum into the rest of the session.

9:45 PM EST

Howard Pulley Panthers (MN) vs. No. 7 Boo Williams (VA)

Boo Williams kicks off their season against long-time Nike opponent Howard Pulley. Boo vs. Pulley is typically a super-competitive affair, and this season should be no different. Boo has four 5-star recruits in the fold, while Pulley sports an underrated 12-man lineup headed up by big man Dain Dainja (247 No. 65). Boo will be a significant favorite, but it would not be wise to sleep on a Luv Harris-coached Panthers squad.

Saturday 4/27

9:30 AM EST

Team WhyNot (CA) vs. Seattle Rotary Style (WA)

2018 Peach Jam runner-up Team WhyNot returns to the EYBL with six 'star' recruits, including three ranked in the top 30. Juniors Nimari Burnett (247 Composite No. 25) and Addison Patterson (247 Composite No. 27), and sophomore Devin Askew (247 Composite No. 15) will be one of the top backcourts on the circuit, and they'll be facing off against a relatively unknown backcourt of Seattle Rotary. Sophomore Paolo Banchero (247 No. 6) is a budding superstar for Rotary, and if they want to complete an upset, they'll need a big day from their 6-foot-9 swingman.

No. 3 Phenom University (WI) vs. Drive Nation (TX)

Phenom University has lofty expectations heading into 2019, and they'll be tested off the bat by RJ Hampton and Drive Nation. Jalen Johnson (247 2020 No. 3) and Pat Baldwin Jr (247 2021 No. 1) are a deadly duo for Phenom, and they also feature big men Jaemyn Brakefield (247 Composite No. 28) Jamari Sibley (247 Composite No. 80). Drive Nation will need to be on their horse defensively and will need big games from forwards Caleb Lohner and Donte Houston Jr. A combined nine ranked recruits will be playing in this contest.

11:15 AM EST

No. 4 Vegas Elite (NV) vs. Pro Skills (TX)

Vegas Elite features more 'ranked' talent than any team on the circuit, therefore, they figure to have a giant target on their backs. A defensive-minded Pro Skills squad will surely keep this game competitive. Stopping Vegas is nearly impossible, but if Pro Skills can contain down the Vegas Elite trio of Josh Christopher, Julian Strawther, and Jaden Hardy, they should have a chance to steal a win down the stretch.

Team Durant (MD) vs. No. 6 Oakland Soldiers (CA)

Team Durant (MD) is making their 17-and-under EYBL debut this spring, and the schedule certainly didn't do them any favors. They'll be thrown right into the fire against the loaded Oakland Soldiers, and Durant will have a chance to pick up a signature win on the second day of the season. Durant and the Soldiers combine to feature 13 star-rated recruits, highlighted by the Soldiers' Jalen Green (247 2020 No. 2) and Ziaire Williams (247 2020 No. 9), and Durant's William Jeffress (247 2021 No. 16) and Earl Timberlake (247 2020 No. 38).

4:00 PM EST

No. 8 AOT Running Rebels (GA) vs. Team WhyNot (CA)

Sharife Cooper (247 Composite No. 18) and Brandon Boston (247 Composite No. 9) will take on a loaded Team WhyNot backcourt in a mid-Saturday heavyweight matchup. Both teams are high-scoring, guard-oriented offenses which should make for an extremely entertaining battle. Burnett, Patterson, and Askew will not be an easy task for the AOT backcourt. Expect a high-scoring game with some fairly ridiculous stat-lines.

PSA Cardinals (NY) vs. No. 3 Phenom University (WI)

PSA and Phenom are both stacked to the brim. Phenom will have an opportunity to pick up a signature win, while PSA will be looking to do the same behind a brand-new lineup. PSA is one of the few teams on the circuit that can match up physically with Phenom. PSA will need to limit Phenom's frontcourt quartet and take advantage of their backcourt depth.

No. 5 Texas Titans vs. Woodz Elite (AR)

Last year's E16 Champions take on the Titans, and both squads should have some of the best team chemistry on the circuit. Woodz Elite will lean on Davonte Davis, Chris Moore, and Jaylin Williams to fend off a Titans' rotation that features eight ranked recruits including Greg Brown III and Cade Cunningham. Expect a nailbiter here and the winner should be in great shape moving into Sunday.

5:45 PM EST

Pro Skills (TX) vs. Drive Nation (TX)

Another Dallas battle will go down Saturday night with bragging rights on the line. These teams will be very familiar with each other which should make for an entertaining back-and-forth matchup. These two teams feature a ton of talent in the backcourt, and the head-to-head tilt between Micah Peavy (PS) and RJ Hampton (DN) is very intriguing. Keep an eye on the frontcourt matchup between Pro Skills' Montreal Pena and Drive Nation's Donte Houston Jr. Both juniors are highly-underrated and they have a terrific opportunity to stand out.

No. 4 Vegas Elite (NV) vs. No. 2 Nightrydas Elite (FL)

This matchup makes a terrific case for Game of the Session. Vegas has nine ranked players in their rotation while the Nightrydas have eight. Five 5-star recruits will be in action between the two teams. Vegas will have a slight backcourt advantage while the Nightrydas will feature much more size in the frontcourt as Vegas Elite will be without junior big man Mady Sissoko. This game should be an up-and-down affair with plenty of fireworks.

The Family Detroit (MI) vs. No. 6 Oakland Soldiers (CA)

The Family Detroit enters the EYBL season as a fringe top-10 team and they'll have a chance to earn that spot against the Soldiers. The Family returns six players from last season's roster while the Soldiers turn over a completely different rotation. Jalen Green and Ziaire Williams will be a load to handle, but Michigan's EYBL affiliate has more than enough size, skill, and athleticism to efficiently contain them. This would be a statement win for The Family and cement them as Peach Jam contenders.

Sunday 4/28

8:00 AM EST

No. 6 Oakland Soldiers (CA) vs. No. 8 AOT Running Rebels (GA)

Jalen Green vs. Sharife Cooper should be a heck of a lot of fun. Both juniors are dynamic with the ball in their hands, and both are complete gamers. This game could come down to the production of the big men. In order to win, AOT will need Dylan Cardwell and Issa Muhammad to contain the production of Ziaire Williams, Shon Robinson, Bradley Ezewiro and Judah Brown.

No. 5 Texas Titans vs. No. 3 Phenom University (WI)

Titans vs. Phenom will feature 14 ranked recruits including four 4-star recruits. Top-5 recruit Greg Brown III (247 No. 5) will have his hands full with Phenom's Jalen Johnson (247 No. 3), Pat Baldwin (247 2021 No. 1), Jaemyn Brakefield (247 Composite No. 28), and Jamari Sibley (247 Composite No. 80). This game should feature a ton of offense and is a pre-event candidate for game of the session.

9:45 AM EST

All Ohio Red vs. Indy Heat

A classic midwest regional battle will go down in the late morning between the Indy Heat and All Ohio. Both teams are operating relatively under-the-radar, and both will be looking to turn heads in the season's opening weekend. The Heat feature five 3-star recruits and one 4-star sophomore. While they have definitely received national recognition, each player in their rotation will be attempting to increase their stock. All Ohio will filter their offense through big man John Hugley, and the Heat will need to find an immediate answer for the junior.

11:30 AM EST

No. 8 AOT Running Rebels (GA) vs. Georgia Stars

The Battle For Georgia concludes the first session. AOT will be a notable favorite in the game, but it would not be wise to count the Stars out. Sharife Cooper will need to be contained for the Stars to have a chance, and that tall task will be given to junior guards Marcus Fitzgerald and Nahiem Alleyne. The Stars will need a complete 36-minute effort in order to score the upset.

1:15 PM EST

Team Durant (MD) vs. No. 1 Team Takeover (DC)

The Battle For The DMV should be one of the best games of the weekend. Takeover (9) and Durant (7) feature a combined 16 ranked recruits and both teams should have a large amount of familiarity with one another. This should be a grind-it-out battle and will likely come down to the guard play of Trevor Keels (TTO) and Darius Maddox (Durant). If you catch one game on Sunday, make this be it.

Seattle Rotary (WA) vs. City Rocks (NY)

The session closes out with an East Coast vs. West Coast battle as veteran Paolo Banchero leads Rotary against a veteran City Rocks squad. The Rocks have arguably their most athletic lineup in program history and they return five players from last year's roster. This game was an instant-classic last season and both teams will be looking to end the session on a high note.

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